Skip to main content
Select Source:

Ramses II

Ramses II

Ramses II (reigned 1304-1237 B.C.) was the third ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. A great warrior, he was also the builder of some of Egypt's most famous monuments.

Ramses, or Ramesses, was the son of Seti I. Prior to his accession as sole ruler in 1304 B.C., Ramses had been coregent with his father. During the last years of Seti I the reins of government had slackened, and the first 3 years of Ramses' reign seem to have been occupied with setting in order the internal affairs of Egypt. Early in his reign he undertook the task of securing an adequate water supply for the gold-mining expeditions to and from the Wadi el-Allaqi in Lower Nubia.

Ramses' royal residence, known as Per-Ramesse, the "House of Ramses," was situated in the Delta. Its site is still a matter of debate; various scholars have identified it with the cities of Tanis and Qantir in the eastern half of the Delta. The situation of the residence in this area was convenient for a pharaoh so concerned with events in Palestine and Syria.

Hittite Campaigns

The outstanding feature of Ramses II's reign was his protracted struggle with the Hittites. An inscription of year 4 of his reign, at the Nahr el-Kalb near Beirut, records his first Asiatic campaign. In year 5 he launched a major attack on the Hittite Empire from his base in northern Palestine and Phoenicia. During the course of this offensive, Ramses at Qadesh fought the greatest battle of his career. Although neither side could claim victory, Ramses never ceased to boast on his monuments of his own part in the battle. Strategically, however, the result was a defeat for the Egyptians, who were obliged to retire homeward. The sight of the Pharaoh's army retreating encouraged many of the petty states of Palestine to revolt, and in year 6 or 7 and in year 8 Ramses was obliged to suppress uprisings in the area.

By year 10 Ramses was again on the Nahr el-Kalb, and the next year he broke the Hittite defenses and invaded Syria. Although he penetrated deep into Hittite territory, he found it impossible to hold indefinitely against Hittite pressure territories so far away from base, and in year 21 a treaty was concluded which terminated 16 years of hostilities between Egypt and the Hittites. After the restoration of peace, relations between the two powers became friendly, and a regular exchange of diplomatic correspondence ensued. In year 34 Ramses married the eldest daughter of the Hittite king. In addition to his wars in Palestine and Syria, Ramses vigorously combated Libyan incursions into the Delta.

No pharaoh ever surpassed the building achievements of Ramses II. Among the most famous of his constructions are his temple at Abydos, his funerary temple, known as the Ramesseum, at Thebes, and the great rockcut temple at Abu Simbel in Nubia.

Further Reading

An excellent account of Ramses II's reign is given by R. O. Faulkner in volume 2 of The Cambridge Ancient History (12 vols., 1924; 2d rev. ed. 1966). See also A. H. Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (1961). □

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ramses II." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ramses II." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 10, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ramses-ii

"Ramses II." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved September 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ramses-ii

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Ramses the Great

Ramses the Great name given to Ramses II (died c.1225 bc), Egyptian pharaoh, reigned c.1292–c.1225bc. The third pharaoh of the 19th dynasty, he built vast monuments and statues, including the two rock temples at Abu Simbel. (See also Ozymandias.)

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ramses the Great." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ramses the Great." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 10, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ramses-great

"Ramses the Great." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved September 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ramses-great

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Ramses II

Ramses II Founder of the 19th dynasty of ancient Egypt (r. c.1320–1318 bc). He was a general under Horemheb, who chose him as his successor. The great hall of the temple at Karnak (Luxor) was begun during his reign.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ramses II." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ramses II." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 10, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ramses-ii

"Ramses II." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ramses-ii

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Ramses II

Ramses II (răm´sēz), Rameses II, or Ramesses II (both: răm´əsēz´), d. 1225 BC, king of ancient Egypt, of the XIX dynasty. The son of Seti I, Ramses was not the heir to the throne but usurped it from his brother. He reigned for 67 years (1292–1225 BC). Under him Egypt acquired unprecedented splendor. His empire extended from S Syria to near the Fourth Cataract of the Nile. The most notable incident of his reign was the battle near Kadesh on the Orontes, where the Egyptians were ambushed by the Hittites. Ramses, claiming to have saved his forces single-handed, had vast texts written about his personal valor. War continued with the Hittites for about 15 years until Ramses concluded a treaty of friendship (1280) with the Hittite king and married (1267) a Hittite princess.

Ramses left monuments throughout Egypt. The principal ones are probably the temple at Karnak, which he completed; the Rameseum, his mortuary temple, at Thebes; the temple at Luxor; and the great rock temple at Abu Simbel with four seated figures of the king on the facade. The period of his rule was characterized by great luxury, increased slavery, and the growth of a mercenary army, all of which led to the final decline of Egypt. He was probably the pharaoh of the exile mentioned in the Old Testament. Merneptah succeeded him.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ramses II." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ramses II." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 10, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ramses-ii

"Ramses II." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ramses-ii

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.